St. Ambrose University alum and Master of Speech-Language Pathology (MSLP) clinical instructor Bridgette Vale ‘10, MSLP ‘12 knows that a little joy can go a long way, especially during the holiday season.
Vale and her husband Joe own and operate the Grinch Truck. A popular new Quad Cities holiday attraction, the Grinch Truck is fully loaded with lights, decorations and holiday music. The truck, along with Mr. Grinch himself, has been making appearances and spreading holiday cheer across the Quad Cities this year.
"Giving back is so rewarding," Vale said.
Vale said the Grinch Truck's mission of giving back to the community and spreading holiday cheer easily ties into the mission of St. Ambrose's Bee the Difference Month.
Vale also serves as the staff advisor for the St. Ambrose chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). The student organization annually raises funds to purchase Christmas gifts for local families.
This year, SAU-NSSLHA raised funds for local families at one of the MSLP program's clinical sites, Edwards Educational Tutoring Ministry. A collaborative program between Edwards Congregational United Church of Christ and Eisenhower Elementary in Davenport, St. Ambrose MSLP students work with students in need and teach phonemic awareness skills and oral narrative strategies to help improve literacy foundations.
In the spirit of promoting literacy and holiday cheer, Vale and the NSSLHA board, along with some help from Joe and the Grinch Truck, went above and beyond for Edwards families.
"This year, the NSSLHA board was approached to purchase books for eight students at Edwards," Vale said. "Quickly, the need grew and our students were asked to purchase books for 10 students - the students did not hesitate to extend their list."
On November 30, the Grinch arrived in style at Edwards Congregational United Church of Christ to hand out copies of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Christmas Pageant" to students.
"This has been my absolute favorite project," Vale said. "As a mother and speech-language pathologist, I cannot imagine the struggle that these parents are enduring. A little joy goes a long way."
Vale said she feels empowered to give back to the community and a program that has provided for her family. Vale's daughter Macie, receives no-cost speech and language services through the St. Ambrose Rite Care Clinic.
"As an alum of the MSLP program, faculty member, and now a parent receiving services, I'm so grateful to the St. Ambrose community," Vale said. "Once a Bee, always a Bee."